Repairing MS Damage - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/23/04

Repairing MS Damage

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disease of the nervous system that usually strikes people in the prime of life. There is no cure, but there is encouraging news that a new treatment strategy is on the horizon.

You see, up until now, the focus has been on what can we do to stop the damage when MS attacks the insulation around the nerve fibers, interrupting the signal that allows us to see, move, or talk. Now, instead of stopping the problem so it doesn't get worse, new research is looking at how we can repair what's already been damaged.

At Albert Einstein College of Medicine, they're trying to re-introduce Oligodendrocyte cells, that's just a big name for the tiny stuff that makes the insulation that protects our nerves.

"We know the genes. We know the factors which regulate those genes. So if we can manipulate these genes and get them to come on at the right times, we can bring Oligodendrocytes into the lesions and make them function in a way which ends up with them making Myelin in those areas," says Dr. Cedric Raine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The Mational MS Society describes this as a real explosion in our ability to understand how to repair damage in the brain, so that's good news. We just have to be patient before we can get all the answers.

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